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'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Here I Am 2012-10-26 01:25:58

Is anyone going tomorrow? I'm pretty excited to see this cast.

Has anyone heard any advanced word on the new running time? They seem to be making a pretty big deal in the press about the previous four hour runtime lol.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-26 23:39:50

The running time was 3 hours 10 minutes tonight.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2012-10-27 00:09:58

Good, I want my money's worth.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-27 20:18:24

...Anyone with actual thoughts on the show?: LOL

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-27 20:38:15

I didn't particularly care for it, but I would say it was respectable work. It could use cutting. The first act holds one's attention fairly well; the second loses focus. The score isn't as drab and dismal as La Chiusa's previous works, but it isn't very agreeable either.

The cast was uniformly good, the design functional.

It's just not a very enjoyable piece. I found myself longing for Dolly, Mame, or Dear World.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by broadwayworldreader 2012-10-27 20:56:01

This isn't gonna be very thorough but here are some of my thoughts:

I was there last night and really enjoyed myself. As someone who generally enjoys LaChiusa's work I will say this music felt much more accessible. Much more sweeping epic film score kind of music infused with some country/mariachi/jazz flavors. Also, having a 25 piece orchestra certainly doesn't hurt.

I thought Brian D'Arcy James and Kate Baldwin were wonderful as was Katie Thompson. Wasn't a huge fan of PJ Griffiths.

As far as design, the set was very simple and really beautiful. They use a lot of sky expanse projections. On SR a giant staircase slides on and off for interior scenes; on SL is a giant water tower for external scenes. The lighting was beautifully done. Kate's dresses were gorgeous as were many of the other costumes. Sound seemed to be having some issues but they'll be worked out.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-27 20:58:17

Twenty-five piece orchestra, huh? GEEZ...

Where the heck are they located?

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by broadwayworldreader 2012-10-27 21:05:02

if the stage is, for our sake, 25 ft deep the upstage half has a giant platform lofted about 10 feet high. Thats where the entire pit is. There is also a scrim that slides up and down to at times cover the pit and at times cover the space beneath them. There looked also to be like an aisle on the most downstage part of the platform where actors would walk across. It's somewhat difficult to explain so I hope that some of that made sense.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by egghumor 2012-10-27 22:08:07

I'd basically assumed the production is playing in the Anspacher, but after that description, I'm now wondering if it's in a more adaptive space, which most of the others are. So, which Public Theater space is GIANT playing?

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by frogs_fan85 2012-10-27 22:52:18

It's in the Newman.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by egghumor 2012-10-27 23:07:38

Thanks, frogs! Actually, the Newman is the one I meant when I said "Anspacher," as I was trying to remember the ground floor rather traditional proscenium house, where A Chorus Line and the majority of the larger scale musicals play at the Public, but like I said, after reading broadwayworldreader's description of the set, I thought perhaps I was wrong in assuming it was in the Newman. In other spaces in the Public I've seen musicians suspended from the ceiling, sitting singly atop poles throughout the house, all sorts of configurations.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by RippedMan 2012-10-28 03:07:31

Sorry to be "that guy," but I know Giant hasn't been on TDF, so how has it been ticket wise? Could I rush it day of? etc.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Luv2goToShows 2012-10-28 08:13:13

RippedMan, it was on TDF for several performances, so keep checking.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by broadwayworldreader 2012-10-28 15:50:13

I got a student rush for $25. well worth it.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-28 16:13:57

Super-duper stoked for this, not gonna lie!

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by broadwaybaby086 2012-10-29 17:41:29

Saw it yesterday afternoon via rush (actually rushed Saturday night, but idiotically didn't check the ticket and showed up late, but they kindly allowed me to past-date the ticket). For future reference, all showtimes for Giant seem to be at 1pm for matinees and 7pm for evenings.

RippedMan, definitely give rush a try, especially as it's early in the run. Check the Public's twitter account, as they usually give daily updates as to rush availability.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed it. I actually forgot that it was LaChiusa for a good part of the first act because the score was so accessible. I didn't love the functionality of the physical space, especially the movable scrim, but thought that the uses of the turntable were effective. The first act felt quite long; it ran about 1:35. Could listen to Kate Baldwin and BDJ sing forever. In particular, I loved Baldwin's characterization as Leslie, as well as John Dossett as Bawley; in smaller roles, I enjoyed Miguel Cervantes and Natalie Cortez; wasn't a fan of PJ Griffith or Mackenzie Mauzy. I'll definitely be returning, if I am able.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Act4ever 2012-10-30 01:33:00

It's a 17-piece orchestra

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by AHTC 2012-10-30 21:49:40

I saw the Sunday matinee and absolutely adored every second of it, and everyone in it. If this moves, this could get Kate Baldwin her Tony.

On a reasonably sad note, does anyone know what happened to Michele Pawk's voice? She gives a GREAT performance here, but it is obvious that she sustained some kind of injury at some point. She sounds incredibly ragged, and its only noticable to me because of how she used to sing?

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by chrisampm2 2012-10-30 22:11:01

I don't think Pawk's vocal damage is noticeable only to those who heard her earlier in her career.
LaChiusa remains loyal, even after many felt those problems contributed to the less than stellar Los Otros reviews.
I remain a fan, but prefer her in straight plays now. Deterioration was noticeable in LA Opera's Little Night Music in'04. I didn't hear her sing in anything between Cabaret in'98 and that.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by AHTC 2012-10-30 22:54:48

She is a one of my favorite actresses in straight plays. Her work in A SMALL FIRE at playwrights a year or so ago, so extraordinary. SO extraordinary.

I think she did Seussical between those two shows (Night Music and Cabaret)

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by RSrichie 2012-11-01 04:05:52

Less than stellar is a kind way to describe Pawk in Los Otros. Casting someone who can't sing any more in a one woman show is just stupid (the second half was mercifully one man) she destroyed every song I've never seen a more atrocious performance. The audience sat there in disbelief. It was a train wreck. Loyalty is admirable but the quality of the show must come first. I'm very much looking forward to seeing Giant. He cam write some exquisite music.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by SondheimFan5 2012-11-04 17:28:02

Anyone else seen this? Any good? A friend called it 'better than Scandalous' but didn't elaborate.

Hoping to see it later in the run.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by michellek45 2012-11-04 18:04:57

I saw the matinee today with the Public's free tickets, and I loved it. Some very light spoilers in this post. Honestly I left the theater wishing they hadn't cut it down from the original four hours. That said, the first act was much better than the second act, and I feel like they needed, if not the whole hour, at least another 20 minutes to really tie it together like it should have been. I liked the sort of non-ending, though, with none of the stories getting fully resolved (other than Jordy and Juana). Jett and Bick's rivalry could have been played up more in Act II. The songs were outstanding, some incredibly beautiful music in there. The actual dialogue in the book was great, and I was struck by how quickly LaChiusa and Perason were able to give their characters life. I never felt overwhelmed by the amount of characters nor confused by the multiple stories going on. Overall, this is an excellent production and I would recommend it highly, even if you are not a LaChiusa fan.

Can anyone who saw the production in Dallas or Virginia elaborate on what has been cut since it moved here?

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-11-04 19:07:06

I caught the matinee yesterday and enjoyed it a lot, but I like the three act structure in DC better, and I missed some of the cut songs. I admit that I'm a crazy LaChiusa devotee, and I saw the try-out in DC twice. It needed some minor fixing, but really I thought it was a masterpiece, and easily one of LaChiusa's finest scores.

The breaks between the three acts seemed more natural, and the characters and plot were able to develop better.

Some differences I noticed:
The sequence in Virginia was much shorter. Unfortunately this meant cutting a beautiful song for Bick called "Lost in Her Woods." I wish so much that they would reinstate this for Brian D'Arcy James; it's almost painful to not be hearing him sing it as he is turning in such a lovely performance.

Jett had a song called "Elsie Mae" about his truck that he sang to Leslie when she got lost on her walk. It was very catchy and made Jett seem sleezier and slimier. I remember his "Dog is Gonna Bark" song being bigger too and having more of a dramatic ending. You definitely don't get much resolution of his storyline in this incarnation.

Act One ended originally with the arrival of Dossett's character and he had this huge story-song called "Coyote." It may have been deemed padding, but he performed it with virtuosity and it was a nice ending for the act.

Act Two started with "I Miss Our Mornings," which has now been moved to the beginning of this second act.

There was a beautiful song for Leslie called "A Stranger" about her want to travel and Jett offered her travel in his new ride "Lady L."

Act Three really got to develop the kids. I don't know if it was just Jessica Grove's performance, or if it was the part, but L'il Luz seemed more fully realized in DC.

All that said- What is left is wonderful, and where this production (in general) eclipses the try-out is in the performances. Kate Baldwin is so freaking good! I mean vocally and acting-wise she is dynamite.

The three hours fly by, and that's all the more reason that it never needed trimmed down to begin with. I left wanting more, not less.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by michellek45 2012-11-04 19:59:13

Whizzer- I was really looking forward to hearing "A Stranger." It's in the LaChiusa piano book I have, and I wish I could have seen it while it was still in the show. Did we get to see more of Angel, Jr. in the original? His one big song was a highlight. I thought the actress did a fine job in this production as Lil' Luz, but her sudden desire to be a pilot, while it makes sense for the character, was really abrupt.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-11-04 20:10:14

I like his song a lot too, and he wasn't featured much more in DC than he is now.

I forgot to say I do think the book is much stronger now. The dialogue was better and it supported the songs more. Maybe with the tighter book the cut songs felt extraneous, but they were so good and added to the epic feel.

"A Stranger" really has a nice melody and lyric. It is a shame it's gone.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by egghumor 2012-11-04 21:09:55

I know it's probably a dumb question at this point, but why (or why do you think) is Aaron Lazar no longer in the production?

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by jaxel614 2012-11-04 22:59:49

I saw the show both last night and tonight with the free tickets offered. Really an incredible production.

I know this is early in its Public run, but does anyone think this has the potential to transfer to Broadway? It would be great to have it seen by larger audiences.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Yero my Hero 2012-11-04 23:28:36

I know it's probably a dumb question at this point, but why (or why do you think) is Aaron Lazar no longer in the production?

Because he is currently starring in MAMMA MIA on Broadway. I don't know if he tried to negotiate time off to do GIANT or not. Maybe with his new growing family, he decided a steady Broadway paycheck was more important right now. I certainly would not blame him.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Kad 2012-11-04 23:29:27

I had heard Lazar wasn't offered the part again, so I'm assuming his take on the character wasn't what was wanted.

And Giant has always been intended for an eventual Broadway transfer. We'll see if the notices enable it.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by thevolleyballer 2012-11-06 12:03:09

I saw last night’s preview (which was delayed by an hour because of technical difficulties, which they later explained had to do with the set’s turntable).

The show is slow — it’s not a fast-moving, swift night at the theatre. It’s definitely not OKLAHOMA, if you thought it was going to be. Not that it should be, of course, but there were a number of lulls when the show really could have benefitted from a high-energy number. (Miguel Cervantes sings the show’s only memorable number, “Jump,” which doesn’t happen until Act 2 and is easily the best part.) I don’t understand why the show isn’t more fun, considering that the first half is about celebrating Texas and the ranch.

The performances were strong, particularly from PJ Griffith, Kate Baldwin and Bobby Steggert. Unfortunately they’re saddled with a book that creeps along slowly and a score that’s too heavy-handed with its forgettable, homogenous ballads. That said, the lyrics are damn beautiful.

The set is… odd. It’s mainly a cloud-painted half scrim that occasionally covers the orchestra. There are moments when it’s beautiful, and moments when it just looks cheap.

Also, should the show transfer, they need to re-cast a few roles. Michele Pawk and Mackenzie Mauzy are both totally ineffective as Luz and Luz II.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Kad 2012-11-06 12:33:30

I was there last night, as well. I liked the show well enough. Although it's long, I didn't find it dragging too much- though in an attempt to cram an epic novel into a palatable theatre length, things sort of happen quickly without believable build up in the first act.

The score is very sweeping. Which sounds great at first, but then... it seems every other song is a sweeping ballad. And although LaChiusa indulges in some different styles, it's all sung the same way, making everything sort of sound similar. The few uptempo numbers ("My Texas" and "Jump" in particular) are much appreciated.

That being said: Kate Baldwin is fantastic and looks stunning in those really beautiful period dresses from the 20s, 40s, and 50s.

The rest of the cast is pretty swell, too- Natalie Cortez makes the most of a small role, as does Bobby Steggert. Katie Thompson as Vashti makes a good impression- even if I feel her first act solo is completely unnecessary despite being one of the best songs in the show (it reminded me of "Doatsy Mae"). PJ Griffith, though no James Dean, is fine. Brian D'Arcy James sounds great, but for me was outshone by Baldwin and many around him.

Although this is, I suppose, LaChiusa's most "accessible" score and show, it still won't find mainstream success. It's too long and lacks memorable numbers.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by newintown 2012-11-06 13:41:27

Baldwin is terrific in this; and the music is very... pretty. But, as in all LaChiusa scores, he can't tell a story to save his life. One gets the impression that LaChiusa assumed that the story tells itself (as he usually does), leaving him free to focus on churning out a series of lovely ballads.

Darcy James sounds gorgeous as always, and still has an acting range of A to B. Steggart continues to overact, perhaps hoping to make up for Darcy James' blandness.

It's a "pretty" evening, but one that also never comes to life.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-11-06 13:58:17

Whizzer--thanks for your review, and everyone else's. I'm still very excited to hear this score (the fact that LaChiusa's work has been regularly recorded in the past few years, makes me suspect we will get a CD). I was on a Ferber kick after reading Show Boat a couple of years back--and I think Giant *does* suit three acts more than two. But perhaps the three act musical curse made them condense it to two.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Kad 2012-11-06 14:04:34

I have no doubt this will be recorded, considering the cast. If Queen of the Mist could get one, I'm sure this will.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by little_sally 2012-11-09 09:50:04

I thought this was god-awful, and I consider myself a pretty big fan of LaChiusa. There are some great melodies in the score, and the acting is wonderful but it was far too long. There are so many unnecessary songs, and yet, I didn't feel like anything was resolved or really fleshed out. Such a disappointment.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by newintown 2012-11-09 09:59:14

It really does feel endless. And the story-telling is just terrible - Pearson and LaChiusa don't seem to have any idea if the story is actually about anything, or which characters should receive focus. Rambling and incoherent. Polite, sporadic applause and lots of walk-outs at intermission (after more than 90 minutes).

What's particularly mystifying is that the show is still so bad after a lengthy development period and two full productions. I was reminded of other shows (Chaplin, Scandalous) that have been around forever, had full productions, yet receive continued financial support despite the fact that they're just plain no good.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by little_sally 2012-11-09 10:22:52

I just couldn't figure out what they wanted us to get out of it. newintown is right; there is no focus.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by michellek45 2012-11-09 15:23:05

I agree with everyone else that there is no true focus, but where I seem to disagree is that I liked that. There certainly is no "point" to this show- you don't come out having learned a lesson, watched a character complete a particular arc, seen a plot come to its natural end. What it is instead is a look at the lives of one family over two generations; it's a look at the people and the characters and how they interact. Some don't ever grow and some change more than they should, but that's how it is with real people.

Do I think some of it was rushed? Yes, and I mentioned before, I think that's probably due to the cuts, which after having seen it I wish they wouldn't have done. The music is grand and sweeping and epic, and I'm fairly certain there's more complexity and interweaving than I could pick upon during the first listen (it IS LaChiusa, after all).

I will sit through almost any plot as long as the characters are engaging, and I found them to be so in this production. It's been pointed out to me that most people want to feel as though there's some sort of revelation or growth or point at the end of a work, so I can see why others didn't enjoy the sort of meandering aspect, though I don't tend to need one for a story to work for me.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Kad 2012-11-09 15:43:15

I think one of the main issues is that LaChiusa treats the story as if it's a true ensemble piece. We have minor characters given major songs shortly after they're introduced. But really, the piece focuses on Kate Baldwin, PJ Griffith and Brian D'Arcy James. I think of those three, Kate Baldwin's character is the richest and clearest- she's real 'giant' here. Brian D'Arcy James goes from a stubborn traditionalist to... a stubborn traditionalist. Griffith's character should have an arc, but doesn't. We don't learn much of him except "he got rich". So we've got three characters, two of which are as fleshed out as any of the supporting ones.

Katie Thompson's Vashti has one of the best songs of the show in her introductory solo, "He Wanted a Girl".

It is also one of the most irrelevant moments in the show.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by newintown 2012-11-09 15:49:05

Agreed about Vashti's song - what does this negligible character have such a big song? If she were going to become an important figure in the story, it might make sense, but she immediately moves to the back row of the chorus after this big number.

Also, as is usual with LaChiusa's work, the lyrics, although pretty, don't advance the story or enlighten us about the characters, so they end up as rather static pieces that inhibit the show's progress and prevent any exploration of the characters or story past the most superficial level.

The orchestra, I should say, is terrific - it's rare to hear this kind of gorgeous string-filled sound on Broadway now, let alone off.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by michellek45 2012-11-09 15:52:14

I agree that Bick doesn't really change at all...but that is completely within his character. That's how Bick is, and that's how he always will be.

Jett got the short end of the stick, definitely, though whether it's because the role was underwritten from the start of a victim of the cuts, I don't know.

I think there was a need to introduce that Vashti was hopelessly in love with Bick, otherwise her marriage to Pinky would have been way way way out of left field. At least this way, I can see why she would feel the need to jump on the first man she could, though we could have benefited from a little more space separating "He Wanted a Girl" and the wedding announcement.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Kad 2012-11-09 15:57:52

Part of me was expecting Other Lady Friend (I don't remember her name because we get it once, over an hour before, and she's in a total of three scenes) to have a song about her having cancer.

We got that Vashti was in love with Bick the second she starts crying when she's introduced. I'd excuse the song more if something came of her character... . Instead, she turns over to Kate Baldwin and becomes her friend seconds after the applause of her song. Then she marries Pinky. And it's completely dropped, and she's basically an ensemble member until "Midnight Blues" in the second act. And then we don't care.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by michellek45 2012-11-09 16:01:00

Yeah, I would have cut Other Lady Friend out of "Midnight Blues" altogether.

Vashti would have been better served had her storyline been more spread out, yeah. I think it's interesting fodder for a plot, but they crammed it all into about 10 minutes, which was a little foolish. I might have even moved "He Wanted a Girl" to later in the show, after Vashti marries Pinky.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by newintown 2012-11-09 16:03:04

Exactly, kad - it's been set up quite clearly that everyone expected Bick to marry Vashti, and that she was in love with him. The song, as I noted above about most of the score, is completely redundant (although it's a pretty good song).

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Kad 2012-11-09 16:09:03

I get why they won't cut it- and I think it's been with the show since the beginning. It's a great song. At my performance, it was a crowd-pleaser. But sometimes you have to knife the baby.

I'm all for a musical ensemble piece, and that song would fit in a different version of this show very well, I think.

But, as it is now, that's not the show I feel Giant is. It's pretty heavily weighted toward the Benedicts... and by extension, Jett. The lack of focus must be a remnant from its three-act incarnation, which could take time to say, "Here's some other people that live in this world, let's get to know them! Because it's four hours and you know that, so let's take our time!" But now it's been restructured to Standard Two-Act Musical Drama, and it can't afford that leisure anymore.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by michellek45 2012-11-09 16:15:30

I certainly agree that in the four-hour incarnation a lot of things both you and I didn't like would have been less of an issue, but I think where we differ is that I like the meandering, focus-less, ensemble way of storytelling.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Kad 2012-11-09 16:20:52

I generally like it, too- but in this sense, I don't think it was done successfully.

I keep comparing this show, stylistically, to Best Little Whorehouse in Texas... oddly enough.

Whorehouse can afford to have songs sung by secondary and tertiary characters because A) its story is simpler and B) the main characters are largely explored in its book. So while Miss Mona has a few songs, most of her action is in book scenes- leaving us with time to hear "The Sidestep", "Doatsy Mae", "24 Hours of Lovin'", "The Aggie Song", etc.

But Giant has a large story to tell, and one that is focused on a set of characters. So it can't really afford time to say, "Meanwhile, here's what someone irrelevant thinks!" anymore.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by newintown 2012-11-09 16:24:46

I think a big difference between Whorehouse and Giant also is that the events in the former happen onstage, often during the songs, whereas in the latter, most of the real events happen offstage or between scenes, with stage time devoted to static numbers.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Kad 2012-11-09 16:29:23

That's true, too. Whorehouse is able to take advantage of its time in a better way, which lets it do more.

While I think Giant is a more complex and ultimately different piece than Whorehouse, it could certainly benefit from the latter's structure.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by jv92 2012-11-10 20:50:31

Not much of a review but...

I went today and found it wonderful. I have been warming up to La Chiusa this year with QUEEN OF THE MIST, which was wonderful, and now this, which is probably his best score to date. The score is melodic and soaring.

The book was also very impressively constructed, and despite a 400+ page source material, it crammed everything necessary in there in a little more than three hours. I thought the three hours flew by.

The cast is wonderful, and the final musical scene between Kate Baldwin and Brian D'Arcy James is gorgeous musical theater writing and performing. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Owen22 2012-11-11 06:32:32

Look, for being as sprawling as the story is, the show is not a mess. And it really, easily could have been. I actually think the book is quite strong, I was more impressed by Pearson's work than LaChuisa's. For a piece so large they do have to indulge in shorthand. For instance, they try to establish everything with Vashti with a song before we have any idea who she is. And that is supposed to last us as we really get no more character definition again. That's sorta rule breaking, but LaChuisa and Greif have been around and know the rules so well they have earned some rule-breaking. I'd argue a more egregious choice was giving Jett his 'I want' song back to back with his 'I am' song. And then nothing ever comes of either really (he is used here more as a representation of what Texas becomes as opposed to a real character). I wonder if his affair with Bick's daughter Luz2 was in the original four hour version. Brian was fantastic and his character DOES change, its just more subtle than Rock Hudson's in the film. I'd argue Kate's character is the one that is somewhat static, but her performance is so very well sung and smart I could care less. I don't think the show will every be strong enough or get the reviews to move to Broadway, but I'm very glad I saw it.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by newintown 2012-11-12 12:00:39

Something about the "Outside Your Widow" tune that kept reprising over and over and over was bothering me, and I just now realized that it sounds a lot like "Chip On Your Shoulder" from Legally Blonde.

Apropos of nothing...

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by Holster2 2012-11-14 12:28:09

I got to see it this past weekend, and I thought it was great. Too long? Maybe. I can't tell you what I would cut though. There isn't anything glaring that is just screaming "TOO MUCH!" or "REDUNDANT!!!" in the show. I would love to see this go to Broadway, even though it is not commercial in the slightest. Being based on the novel and popular film, it already has an audience - an audience that is much older, the kind of audience that actually pays to go see shows on Broadway. LaChiusa has his audience. I'm sure people would check it out because of Greif's name being attached. It might not last long, but it would certainly get some Tony nominations and most likely awards.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-11-17 21:20:58

I saw the show this afternoon and I have to say I really liked it and appreciated it, but I didn't love it. Most importantly, it is very impressive and exciting to see a musical like GIANT; it is very ambitious, very challenging, and very different. Even if not all of it works (and not all of it does), I would rather see 85 GIANTs than another NEWSIES or ROCK OF AGES.

Firstly, the cast is simply wonderful. Save for a slimy yet bland PJ Griffith and an almost hammy Michelle Pawk, there is not a bad or even mediocre performance in the entire group. They are all excellent, particularly Kate Baldwin of course. Her voice is gorgeous and she really knocks the book scenes out of the park. Brian D'Arcy James, always wonderful, is the ideal match for her. Katie Thompson (that voice!) and Bobby Steggert also made strong impressions on me.

The score is really gorgeous overall. The orchestrations are fantastic and there are some moments in this show that work so perfectly that it sent chills down my spine. But I have to echo a lot of the general complaints about the score; there are a handful of superfluous songs that side characters don't really need and some cuts can be made here and there. But (and I don't think I've ever felt this way about a show before) I almost feel as though those cuts could and should be filled in with more songs and more character development for Baldwin and D'Arcy James' characters. If the show needs one thing, it's a clearer focus. I completely understand the book (and the film) are sweeping, long, grand, and...well...giant. But in the show (maybe it's just this truncated version), it comes off as disjointed and a bit manic. When the show takes it's time and focuses in on one specific relationship, moment, or character, that's when it really soars (the opening, many of the scenes between Steggert and D'Arcy James, and the breathtaking final 30 minutes all spring to mind). The second act has a much clearer direction and focus than the first, in my opinion. It also takes its time a bit more to tell the story and develop the characters. The Virginia sequence in the first act goes by WAY too quickly, and most of the first act felt choppy to me. I was getting whiplash from all of the new plots and characters and storylines being introduced, just as I was settling in to the scene or character that was introduced before it. That said, the three hour running time went by rather quickly.

Greif lends his steady directorial hand to the show, and it's all the better for it. He really continues to impress me.

I would love to see a future for GIANT. There is really a lot in the show that impressed me and some moments that even blew me away; and with another revision or two, I really do feel as though this show could be something incredible. But as it is a the Public, it's an ambitious musical in which not everything works. But the potential is absolutely there.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by muscle23ftl 2012-11-18 02:38:45

I was at the same performance, Saturday at 1pm, and I agree a 100%, but the 3 hours didn't fly by for me, it was rather slow and I couldn't wait till it was over.
It was a good show, and it has potential, nothing as innovative or avante garde as "See What I Wanna See", but it was a good show.
It need major cutting, and the show should be maybe 1.45 or 2 hours intermission included.
The cast was very good, the woman that plays Brian Darcy's sister was a bit annoying, but not sure if it was her or the character that was absolutely dreadful.
Kate Baldwin was great, and so was the girl that played her daughter, they sang wonderfully.

'GIANT' first preview
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-12-18 01:42:28

This was probably posted and I missed it--but a search didn't come up with anything. Not a big surprise, but I'm pleased